Cost of breastfeeding - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 31 Old 03-10-2009, 08:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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According to the Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet on Breastfeeding (which was sent to me today in my weekly pregnancy email from my hospital as the "Resource of the Week"), one of the benefits of breastfeeding is:

"It saves money. The cost is about $0.39/day and keeps your baby healthy."

Any idea what they are referring to here? Last I checked, my milk was free!

http://ohioline.osu.edu/mob-fact/0003.html

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#2 of 31 Old 03-10-2009, 08:37 AM
 
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They probably somehow took into account the extra calories that it takes to breastfeed. Very strange though - $0.39/day is a weird number to come up with!
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#3 of 31 Old 03-10-2009, 10:03 AM
 
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I dunno if they're counting this or not, but I took a longer maternity leave than I would have otherwise because I wanted to protect my milk supply.

I'd also imagine they're prorating the cost of breast pads, etc, though I would wonder over what time period
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#4 of 31 Old 03-10-2009, 10:21 AM
 
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A few nursing bras along with those breast pads. There are some expenses.

I would love to see the overall cost of breast feeding vs. formula feeding. I bet I've got about $150 into bras and breast pads over the last 3 years. Oh, I also bought some lasinoh.

I can't imagine how much bottles, formula, mini-coolers, and all the other paraphernalia needed would cost.

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#5 of 31 Old 03-10-2009, 10:39 AM
 
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Maybe for WOH moms, they are figuring in the cost of pumping supplies split over the course of the "average" nursing period - whatever they figured that to be.

My first pump was $199, and my second was $250. I also purchased a small fortune in storage bags. And it was worth every penny. :

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#6 of 31 Old 03-10-2009, 10:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by atobols View Post
A few nursing bras along with those breast pads. There are some expenses.

I would love to see the overall cost of breast feeding vs. formula feeding. I bet I've got about $150 into bras and breast pads over the last 3 years. Oh, I also bought some lasinoh.

I can't imagine how much bottles, formula, mini-coolers, and all the other paraphernalia needed would cost.
I have always gone back to work pretty much immediately after having my kids, and bottles cost quite a bit, especially when one must go through five or six different sets trying to find a nipple that baby will accept. :

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#7 of 31 Old 03-10-2009, 10:49 AM
 
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It can be expensive, under unusual circumstances. Take pumping for example...I'm paying $70 a month for a breastpump, $35 for a pumping bra, $40 for a cooler to transport milk, $25 for the bigger size flanges.... It's very worth it, but expensive for someone with very little slack in the budget.

Hopefully my babies will be home soon and I can nurse them instead.

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#8 of 31 Old 03-10-2009, 10:55 AM
 
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Hopefully my babies will be home soon and I can nurse them instead.
: I hope so too!

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#9 of 31 Old 03-10-2009, 11:49 AM
 
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I don't think 39 cents is enough to cover all the extra food I eat.

I probably eat 5$ of extra food a day.

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#10 of 31 Old 03-10-2009, 12:04 PM
 
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yeah, i was eating extra food every day but only for the first year, then it leveled off. it wasnt anymore than being pregnant.

i know bf is cheaper for most people but $.39? that seems a little low. I would think the average would come out closer to a dollar. and they are probably just going on the food. not everyone uses pumps, bottles, or pads. and they probably arent considering that. besides doesnt $.39 make it seem even way better than the cost of formula? what is the average daily cost for that? isnt it $25 a can that last 10 days? or is that too long? i havent ff a child since 1995. so i dont really remember. but i am sure prices went up.

this artical looks like a quick put together to catch womens eyes to encourage to bf. i dont think it was meant to catch the eye of a more bf educated woman, but one who hadnt though about it. kwim?

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#11 of 31 Old 03-10-2009, 02:32 PM
 
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it hasn't cost me anything to breastfeed. i don't wear nursing bras and i made my nursing pads out of old rags, and i don't eat more than usual (although i do drink a LOT, but its water, and we have a well so its free.)

maybe they avereaged it out using moms who pump and have other expenses and then moms like me, so it made it look lower? idk.
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#12 of 31 Old 03-10-2009, 02:37 PM
 
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it hasn't cost me anything to breastfeed. i don't wear nursing bras and i made my nursing pads out of old rags, and i don't eat more than usual (although i do drink a LOT, but its water, and we have a well so its free.)

maybe they avereaged it out using moms who pump and have other expenses and then moms like me, so it made it look lower? idk.
It would be interesting to see how they came up with their numbers because if they didn't include pumping mothers, it certainly affects the validity of the study.

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#13 of 31 Old 03-10-2009, 02:47 PM
 
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Hmm..interesting! OSU is a few miles from me, so I called the local number at the bottom and no one answered. No vm or anything...I'll keep you posted if I learn the answer! I'm curious too!

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#14 of 31 Old 03-10-2009, 10:33 PM
 
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I spent well over $1000 on breastfeeding supplies (2 pumps over 2+years, bags, bottles, replacement parts, fenugreek, teas, etc); I have tubular breasts, which I know isn't common, but, I wonder if people like me skew the results
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#15 of 31 Old 03-11-2009, 12:22 AM
 
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I think I ate well over 39 cents of extra food per day when nursing- I'm one of those women who never loses weight while nursing because I'm always hungry and eating so much.

I need several new bras a year whether I'm nursing or not- I'm not sure I actually spent more on nursing bras than I would have on "regular" bras for the same time period, but I might have. I certainly spend more than 40 cents a day on bras (ie: more than $150 a year), but I have to do that anyway. :

And if you count in the pump and replacement valves.. OK, that came to about 15 cents a day (Avent Isis, used for over a year.)

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#16 of 31 Old 03-11-2009, 02:34 AM
 
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I don't think 39 cents is enough to cover all the extra food I eat.

I probably eat 5$ of extra food a day.
:

I am probably eating more than that (or would if i could). No question that food is the biggest expense for me but I doubt that is what the .39 cents refers to.
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#17 of 31 Old 03-11-2009, 10:08 AM
 
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I was so intrigued by this, I spent almost an hour last night trying to track down the references. I'm not very good at such things, so I didn't get very far, but I did stumble across a bf information page at the FDA website that was very accurate.

Total speculation, but maybe the number is the result of some kind of survey... ask nursing mothers how much they spent on breastfeeding supplies and divide it by a certain number of days. Some women, perhaps many, would say they spend little or nothing, while others might spend quite a bit. The result is an average that is not very informative.

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#18 of 31 Old 03-11-2009, 10:18 AM
 
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i didnt get very far before i had to stop and say , WHAT? Bras and pumps have nothing to do with the cost of breastfeeding in any way. they could be included in a study of costs associated with breastfeeding and returning to work or something like that. actual breastfeeding only consists of a mothers breast and infant sucking. so they must be talking about extra food eaten, though i also eat more than .39 extra a day. when i am not pregnant or nursing i mostly live on air and caffeine free soda, but when nursing i am Hungry and eat a lot more...

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I remember once seeing a average number of extra calories needed per day, and it had been converted into a cost. I can't remember what it was though.

I don't think I'd include a pump in the cost of breastfeeding though, in most cases; it would be a cost of going back to work.

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#20 of 31 Old 03-11-2009, 06:43 PM
 
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I remember once seeing a average number of extra calories needed per day, and it had been converted into a cost. I can't remember what it was though.

I don't think I'd include a pump in the cost of breastfeeding though, in most cases; it would be a cost of going back to work.
The usual approximation of extra calories is a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of milk... I would guess that would be where the $0.39 comes from.

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#21 of 31 Old 03-11-2009, 07:09 PM
 
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I don't think I'd include a pump in the cost of breastfeeding though, in most cases; it would be a cost of going back to work.
Plenty of women don't return to work, or even plan to and still buy pumps for *gasp* a dinner out or some such.

Total supplies for me was 5 bras/tanks, freezer bags, bottles, a $200 pump, 4 nipple shields, nursing pads, lansinoh, fenugreek, oral and cream nystatin, probiotics and several visits from a lactation consultant. I also ate more food. Whether I needed it or not is debatable but I sure enjoyed the excuse

Plenty of times, breastfeeding is free, but plenty of times it costs more than formula, especially if you're un/under insured. Downplaying the cost isn't doing anything to help with lactivism.
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#22 of 31 Old 03-11-2009, 07:42 PM
 
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I think it's great to stress that BFing is cheap/free – especially during this recession! It's just nuts to me that the stats show that more affluent women tend to BF more when formula feeding is not just unhealthy but expensive.
Unfortunately, I've spent – literally – thousands on LCs, herbs, domperidone, hospital-grade pump and baby scale rentals and Lact-Aid supplies.
But breastfeeding my son until he wants to stop is priceless to me...

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#23 of 31 Old 03-11-2009, 11:29 PM
 
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Huh, I never considered the cost of BFing. My Avent Isis pump was about $35, a box of Lansinoh bags, which has lasted forever because I hardly ever pump, was about $10, a few bottles were about $10, my nursing bras were about $60 total, and my lanolin was about $5. I can't think of any other BFing-related expenses for me -- I've always eaten a lot, so I'm not eating more now than I did before I was pregnant. So, for the 10 months I've BFed so far, the cost per day has been about ... 40 cents. Wow, that's right at their estimate! The thing is, doesn't the cost per day go down as you nurse longer (except for extra food)?

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#24 of 31 Old 03-12-2009, 11:04 AM
 
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If you're not pumping, then I'm assuming you are at home with your kids, (which is great for you! I'm not saying it isn't wonderful that you do that), but then you have to think about the wages you give up in order to breastfeed. For me, working outside the home when DD can get free formula at daycare, formula feeding was definitely cheaper than the cost of the pump, pump parts, bottle systems, nursing bras, lactation support, nursing pads, extra food for me, tinctures to keep my supply up, etc.
I think the cost argument is persuasive for some, but it's disingenuous to say that it's free or that formula is so much more expensive because unless you're always with your baby and have great supply and no latch problems or anything else, it will have costs. And they can add up.
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#25 of 31 Old 03-12-2009, 05:16 PM
 
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I always thought that BFing was free, but now I can see how there would be little expenses here and there. I think that for every woman that eats like a Hoover when BFing (me included) there's a woman who eats less, or no more than usual. For every woman who buys expensive nursing bras, there's a woman who wears her normal bras, or the cheap ones from Walmart. It's an average, I suppose, and like most averages, we'll never be able to figure it out!

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#26 of 31 Old 03-13-2009, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know that the cost is a big reason for some people to choose to BF, but for me, it's not about the money anyway. I would breastfeed regardless of the cost. I do think that it is still significantly cheaper for me to BF though, for sure, but it's just like a little added bonus to me, not a motivator. I do work and pump, so I did buy a pump, but I will be able to use it for more than one child so it is very cost-effective. I also don't eat especially more when nursing that I've noticed, not more than when I'm pregnant for sure. I guess I'm not really trying to dispute the $0.39 per day figure, or say it's too high or low or compare it to formula, but more just questioning where that number even came from in the first place.

Re: the argument that if you nurse and stay home that you need to account for your lost wages. That seems to imply that the only reason you are staying home is specifically because you need to breastfeed, and that doesn't seem to me like the main factor in why most people choose to stay home. There are plenty of formula feeding moms who stay home too, for sure. And though I have heard of some daycares that supply formula for "free" (or included in tuition), none of the daycares that I have worked at or had my child in have done this. The argument doesn't hold water to me.

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#27 of 31 Old 03-16-2009, 12:44 AM
 
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It costs me $1.60/day in Domperidone to be able to nurse. And that's not factoring in the first few hellish months of lactation consultants, herbs, and a new pump. And yes, it's worth it. But for some of us it's not free.

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#28 of 31 Old 03-16-2009, 04:39 AM
 
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I'm going to try and figure out my breastfeeding costs here, just for fun.

-Medela Harmony Hand Pump: FREE from WIC
-New Medela Swing Breast Pump: $30 (Purchased from LLL- it was a Silent Auction unsold item)
-Pump Bags: ~$15 so far? (I don't really pump much.)
-Born Free Bottles: FREE Gift Set from Baby Shower

Total Pump-related costs: $45

-Nursing Bra: FREE from WIC
-5 or 6 nursing tanks: ~$100
-Nursing Pads: maybe $50?
-Sleep Bra: $15

Total Clothing-related costs: $165

-The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding: $12
-LLL Membership: $40
-Lanolin: $5

Total Support/comfort costs: $57

Am I forgetting anything? I don't think I am so... TOTAL COST (to this point): $267

DS has been around for 228 days so far averaging out to be a cost of $1.17 per day. If I buy nothing else and he is breastfed for one year the cost will be $0.73 per day. If he is breastfed to my goal of at least two years and I renew my LLL membership ($40) bringing total cost to $307, the cost-per-day will work out to being about $0.42/day. Not as low as the article but still pretty dang cheap.

I realize that some people have more expenses and some people have next to none. I consider my spending to be fairly average, middle of the road.

While there are many reasons to breastfeed and ideally cost shouldn't figure into doing what's best for your baby, I don't think it is wrong to market cost as a benefit.
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#29 of 31 Old 03-16-2009, 01:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tinyactsofcharity View Post
I'm going to try and figure out my breastfeeding costs here, just for fun.

-Medela Harmony Hand Pump: FREE from WIC
-New Medela Swing Breast Pump: $30 (Purchased from LLL- it was a Silent Auction unsold item)
-Pump Bags: ~$15 so far? (I don't really pump much.)
-Born Free Bottles: FREE Gift Set from Baby Shower

Total Pump-related costs: $45

-Nursing Bra: FREE from WIC
-5 or 6 nursing tanks: ~$100
-Nursing Pads: maybe $50?
-Sleep Bra: $15

Total Clothing-related costs: $165

-The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding: $12
-LLL Membership: $40
-Lanolin: $5

Total Support/comfort costs: $57

Am I forgetting anything? I don't think I am so... TOTAL COST (to this point): $267

DS has been around for 228 days so far averaging out to be a cost of $1.17 per day. If I buy nothing else and he is breastfed for one year the cost will be $0.73 per day. If he is breastfed to my goal of at least two years and I renew my LLL membership ($40) bringing total cost to $307, the cost-per-day will work out to being about $0.42/day. Not as low as the article but still pretty dang cheap.

I realize that some people have more expenses and some people have next to none. I consider my spending to be fairly average, middle of the road.

While there are many reasons to breastfeed and ideally cost shouldn't figure into doing what's best for your baby, I don't think it is wrong to market cost as a benefit.
Hmm, think I'll try this too.

$35 for cheap pump and a few bottles.
$ 5 lanolin
$5 ibuprofen

I got my nursing bras free, but I am going to have to get a new one soon.

So far I nursed #1 for 2 years and #2 for 16 months.

I think, as a really rough estimate, that comes to about 5 cents a day plus food. I do tend to be hungrier though, so I may come out to just about 35 cants a day.

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#30 of 31 Old 03-16-2009, 02:52 PM
 
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What about the money breastfeeding saves on doctor visits, medicines, etc. by keeping babies healthier than they would be on artificial milks?

I guess that is really a cost of feeding with artificial milks rather than a saving with nursing though.
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